(71 days) Open-pollinated. At age 17 cucurbit aficionado and future eminent seedsman Glenn Drowns took on his 4-year project to breed a watermelon that would withstand the rigors of his mountainous northern Idaho climate and ripen before first frost despite summer nighttime temperatures that averaged 43°. No wonder Blacktail Mountain is the earliest variety extant, among the hardiest, best adapted to a variety of conditions, and even stores after harvest as long as any. Adam Tomash and June Zellers deserve credit for popularizing this melon by sharing tastes at the Exhibition Hall at Common Ground Fair. They have harvested “delicious” 17 and 19 lb melons. This is at the upper end of Blacktail’s potential; most will run 8–12 lb. Fruits are dark green, almost black, with faint stripes, flesh orange-red like a Sugar Baby only with a cleaner more pleasing texture, very sweet, juicy and crunchy. Drowns didn’t rest on his laurels—he now maintains Sand Hill Preservation Center in Iowa, his catalog a treasure trove of rare seed and poultry varieties. OSSI. Breeder Royalties.②
1003 Blacktail Mountain - Organic
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Citrullus lanatus1 gram packet about 20 seeds, sows 7 hills; 1⁄16 oz packet, packet about 40 seeds, sows 14 hills. 1 oz=about 670 seeds.
Culture: Harvesting watermelon at proper ripeness is an art. Thumping should produce a low, hollow sound. Spread thumb and forefinger and press hard on fruit. If you feel any give, watermelon is ripe. Don’t heed the traditional advice to wait for the closest tendril to brown—that may be too late. Minimum germination temperature 60°, optimal range 75–95°.